Top Must-See Movies from the Philippines

May 23, 2019 | Philippines, POP

by MJ Toledo

Have you seen any films from the Philippines? If not, here’s a list of the must-see movies to get you started, some are available on Netflix!

Filipinos love entertainment, and there’s nothing better for them than lining up in the cinema with a bucket of popcorn in hand. In the past years, there has been a rise in the quality of Philippine cinema. If you’re on the lookout for films to watch, you’ve come to the right page.

Whether you are looking for a light romantic comedy, horror, or a heavy drama that will make you cry, Filipino films have got you covered. Here are the top movies you should watch.

That Thing Called Tadhana (That Thing Called Fate)

Director Antoinette Jadaone is one of Philippine’s best directors. Her unique style to convey love stories is apparent in her 2014 flick That Thing Called Tadhana. In this film, Mace, who just left a long-term relationship, invites a stranger to go on a roadtrip in the Philippines highlands – one of the most picturesque locations in the country.

The road trip turns into something more as the two new friends feel an attachment to each other and must choose between letting fate do its job or not.

Himala (Miracle)

Arguably one of the most iconic Filipino film, Himala is a masterpiece by Ishmael Bernal. Even more than 30 years after its release, its significance in the society still shines through. Himala tells the story of Elsa, a woman who was blessed by the Virgin Mary. After some time, Elsa’s town is visited by thousands of tourists and pilgrims who want to see a miracle.

Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros (The Blossoming of Maximo Oliveros)

Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros directed by Auraeus Solito is a coming of age film that centers on Maxi, a 12-year-old gay living in the slums of Manila. The charming protagonist falls in love with a policeman, Victor, who is investigating the crimes committed by his brother and father.

The film is a stark representation of the lives of gay teens in the country who are facing bullying because of their sexuality. Presented in a neo-realist manner, Ang Pagdadalaga Ni Maximo Oliveros is a film that will make you feel butterflies in your stomach.

Heneral Luna (General Luna)

Considering the interesting and inimitable history of the country, it is no wonder that it has inspired quite a number of films. However, Heneral Luna stands out among the rest. This 2015 film is the country’s highest grossing historical movie.

Set during the Philippines and American War, it follows the life of General Antonio Luna, one of the country’s most popular heroes. However, the ill-tempered general faces something more challenging than the American soldiers – his own disloyal countrymen.


Written and directed by Mikhail Red, Birdshot is a 2016 mystery and thriller film that is set in the countryside of the Philippines. After a farm girl accidentally shots the Philippine Eagle, considered as an endangered species, police officers track her down. Birdshot was nominated for Best Foreign Language Film at the 90th Academy Awards and is also the film Filipinos film that was released by Netflix.

On the Job

On the Job is one of the most successful crime films in the country. It centers on prisoners who carry out assassinations to reduce their sentence and the two police officers who investigate the contact killings committed by the hit men prisoners.

On the Job became part of the Directors’ Fortnight during the 2013 Cannes Film Festival where it received a standing ovation.

Seklusyon (Seclusion)

If you’re in the mood for a horror movie night, Seklusyon is the top choice for you. The movie directed by Erik Matti, the same visionary behind On the Job, revolves around Anghela Sta. Ana, a child healer assisted by a nun, Sister Cecilia. A suspicious priest, Padre Ricardo investigates the child’s mysterious powers and where it came from – God or the devil himself.

You’re Finally Ready for a Movie Marathon!

With a freshly popped bowl of popcorn in your lap and a cold glass of beer, you’re finally ready to have a Filipino movie day. Just remember to take the whole day off because you surely won’t resist watching all the films in one go.